2001-02 Year In Review
Georgia ends season as NCAA team runner-up, fall in finals to Southern
The Georgia men's tennis team's quest for back-to-back national titles ended just short as the Bulldogs fell to 11th-seeded Southern California in the championship final of the 2002 NCAA Championships at the Texas A&M Tennis Center in College Station. Georgia, who won the 2002 SEC Championship, ended the season 28-4.
The Bulldogs found themselves in unfamiliar territory as Georgia dropped the doubles point for only the sixth time all season. The duo of Lesley Joseph and Nicolas Boeker lost to USC's Prakash Amritraj and Daniel Langre, 8-3 at No. 3 doubles.
Southern Cal took the early lead when Teige Sullivan and Ruben Torres topped Brandon Wagner and Adam Seri 8-4 at No. 2 doubles to secure the doubles point.
The Trojans took a 2-0 lead when Langre outlasted Seri 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 5 singles spot In the top singles spot, No. 30 Andrew Park won the first game of the first set before M. Boeker reeled off six straight wins to take the first set 6-1. The two men traded breaks in the second set to get back on serve at 4-4. M. Boeker broke serve in the 12th game to win 6-4, 7-5 for Georgia's lone point of the match. USC extended its lead to 3-1 when Torres defeated N. Boeker in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 6 singles spot. Wagner (at No. 2) and Hodge (No. 3) both fought off match points to keep Georgia in the match.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Amritraj gave USC head coach Dick Leach his fourth national title - first since 1994 - and a victory in his final match as the Trojan leader. Amritraj broke Hodge in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead in the second set after winning the first in a tiebreak. The Trojan send the crowd into a frenzy as he held on to post a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win to clinch the match.
Wagner, M. Boeker and Hodge all earned their way onto the All-Tournament team.
Boeker repeats as NCAA singles champion
Junior Matias Boeker used a straight-set victory against fourth-seeded Jesse Witten of Kentucky to win the men's singles title at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Boeker became the first player to win back-to-back singles titles since former Bulldog Mikael Pernfors did so in 1984 and '85.
Tthe two players traded breaks in the first two games in the opening set of the national final. With the match back on serve and Witten up 3-2, the Wildcat held triple-match point against Boeker's serve, but Boeker won the next six points to hold and knot the score at 3-3. Both players held serve until the 11th game when Boeker broke to take a 6-5 lead. Boeker held to take the first set 7-5.
Boeker seemed to have little trouble in the second set, as he broke Witten in the first game en route to winning six straight games to win the second set 6-0.
Witten, who was the SEC and NCAA Rookie of the Year, lost to Boeker in the only previous meeting between the two in a three-set battle in the Georgia/Kentucky regular season dual match on March 3 in Athens. Boeker ended the season with a 28-3 record and riding a 23-match winning streak, and he has not lost an NCAA singles tournament match since the second round of the 2000 NCAA Championships, a span of 12 matches. Boeker's 23-match winning streak began with a win against Witten during the regular season. Boeker ended the year ranked No. 1 in the country. Boeker, who won the 2001 NCAA singles crown with a straight-set win against Virginia's Brian Vahaley in Athens, is only the third repeat champion since 1964 when USC's Dennis Ralston topped Martin Riessen of Northwestern for the second consecutive year.
Adding All-Americans to an already lengthy list
By advancing to the Round of 16, both Brandon Wagner and Matias Boeker earn All-American status for the 2002 season. Wagner claims All-American honors for the first time in his career and becomes the 33rd all-time at Georgia. Boeker, who was an All-American as both a freshman and sophomore, becomes the ninth Bulldogs to garner All-American accolades at least three times and the first since assistant coach John Roddick did so in 1998. Stephen Baldas also earned All-American status in 1998 to become only the fifth five-time honoree from Georgia. Boeker and Bo Hodge also earned All-American honors by finishing the season ranked No. 5 in the final Omni Hotels Individual Rankings.
Boeker Honored By SEC; Four Bulldogs named All-SEC
Matias Boeker was honored by the conference April 17 as he was named the 2002 SEC Player of the Year, giving Georgia its first award since it was sanctioned by the league in 1993. Boeker, who won both the NCAA singles and doubles titles in 2001, earned SEC Player of the Week in the fifth week of the season and was named SEC Male Athlete of the Year in 2001. Along with Boeker, junior Brandon Wagner was named first-team All-SEC in singles, while junior Lesley Joseph earned second-team All-SEC accolades in singles as well. Boeker's doubles partner, Hodge, took second-team All-SEC honors in doubles.
Boeker has the distinction of being the only three-time first-team selection on this year's list and the first Georgia player to earn first-team honors since current Bulldog assistant John Roddick did so from 1996 to 1998.